and Randolph Clark. Mary Couts Burnett. Pete Wright. TCU immortals, all.
And now, Fort Worth businessman F. Howard Walsh '33.
time to dance. And a time to work. F. Howard Walsh '33 managed
to find both. The couple, shown above in 1970, built a game room and
dance hall on the back of their house to accommodate their legendary
parties and square dances, but when the office beckoned, Howard worked
long and hard, (he charted all his stocks by hand each day) then shared
the fruits with others.
has to be born, and I was, at Waco, Texas, February 7, 1913, the handwritten
letter begins, providing an inauspicious introduction to a life that wove
itself deeply into the philanthropic fabric of Fort Worth and TCU.
for F. Howard Walsh '33, the oilman, rancher and arts patron who passed
away May 28 and who made two requests for his funeral: Don't hold the
memorial service on his golf day, and play We're Glad You're Dead You
Rascal You and A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.
chose otherwise, but the message was clear.
and I never thought we were special or anything," said Mary D. Fleming
Walsh, his wife of 61 years. "We liked to give rather than keep the money,
so we have always given as much as we could."
did, in the millions. And Fort Worth benefited in as many ways. Hospitals,
churches, arts groups, schools (especially TCU) and community organizations
all knew if there was a need, the Walshes had open hearts, and usually
an open checkbook, too.
no major organization in this town, or even minor, that he didn't help
if they needed it," said Board of Trustees member Malcolm Louden '67,
general manager for the Walsh Companies for almost 30 years. "And he never
asked for anything in return."
TCU trustee's generosity to alma mater included academic scholarships,
a naming gift to the Walsh Complex for weight training and rehabilitation
and perpetual support of athletics. "Every time a new head football coach
came to see Howard, he would write them a big check," Louden said.
the family gave one of the largest single gifts in the University's history
-- $3.5 million for the Mary D. and F. Howard Walsh Center for Performing
Arts. The day after former Chancellor William E. Tucker asked Walsh for
support, Tucker received an early Christmas gift. Read the note from Walsh:
Rejoice. I bring you good tidings of great joy.
You got the dough.
goodwill did not stop there. Walsh parties (which included regular square
dances) are now legendary, known to include fantastic gifts and trappings.
Christmas in Walsh's estimation was cause for lavish celebration each
year. Friends made pilgrimages to town (at his expense) for the perennial
The Littlest Wiseman (which they fund) and extravagant gifts (more
than once, he gave mink coats to all his female employees).
the work world during the Depression, landing a job with the Armour Co.
where he later was promoted to HEAD of the test department. . . for
$18 per week, he wrote. This did not look like the road to riches to me.
So he turned
to his "flair for math and figuring things out," Mary D. said, as an accountant
for her father before striking out on his own. "Mostly he just worked
hard." Indeed, that and shrewd intelligence enabled Walsh to build one
of the nation's largest independent oil production companies and an extensive
cattle ranching business. But he remained down to earth, often telling
jokes on himself. Walsh wrote about an encounter at the Fort Worth Club
with Mary D. and her parents where he ignored a warning about the horseradish.
as a gourd about such things, took a full spoon of the liquid fire. Well,
well, well, it hit me like a ton of rocks. My nose started running, my
eyes looked like faucets left on by mistake. It started at my neck and
rapidly spread to the top of my head -- turning beet-red and sweating
profusely all over. I don't remember how it ended -- I did survive.
who benefited from his decision to make this part of the world a better
place during his 85 years are glad he did.